Posted on : Monday March 1, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY — Max Lyall, retired Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary music professor, died Feb. 17. He was 71.

A native Oklahoman, Lyall served at Golden Gate for 25 years before retiring in 1999 to Baltimore, MD, where he was minister of music for Woodbrook Baptist Church for five years. He then relocated to Oklahoma, where has been associate minister for music and worship at First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

Lyall, a nationally known pianist, singer and humorist, was a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, the University of Oklahoma and the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University, and also studied at Columbia University and the Julliard School of Music.

At the time of his retirement from Golden Gate, then-Seminary President William O. “Bill” Crews, said, “The impact of Dr. Lyall upon the ministry of Golden Gate has been inestimable and will continue through the years in the lives and ministries of his students.

“He is a well-known ambassador and advocate for quality church music and worship in all settings here and abroad.”

In 1996, Word Music produced a collection of piano arrangements and original compositions titled “Keyboard Legends,” featuring the work of Lyall and three other nationally known pianists. His previous recordings of hymn-tune improvisations include “Authentic Original” and “Max, Rhythm and Song.”

Lyall served as pianist for meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention and Baptist World Alliance, and was on the hymnal committee for the 1991 edition of the Baptist Hymnal. The Southern Baptist Church Music Conference awarded him honorary life membership in 1992.

He also was on the faculty for church music conferences at Glorieta (NM) and Ridgecrest (NC) conference centers, and has been visiting professor of church music as well as a concert performer at Baptist seminaries in Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong and Zambia.

Until 2008 Lyall had been accompanist for The Centurymen from their beginning in 1969. An auditioned men’s chorus of professional musicians, the group includes directors of music from Baptist churches across America and throughout the world.

In 2007 Lyall received the California Southern Baptist Convention Duane Barrett Award, which recognizes individuals who have “spent many years in service to Christ in SBC music ministries on the local, state or national level.”

Funeral services were held Feb. 22 at First Baptist in Oklahoma City.